Viacom Sues Google for $1 Billion
March 13, 2007 2:27 PM
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One of cable's largest media conglomorates has opened the litigation against YouTube
Viacom today announced it has filed a lawsuit against Google in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Viacom filed the lawsuit claiming that
Google intentionally committed massive copyright infringement of Viacom’s entertainment properties
. The lawsuit seeks more than $1 billion in damages, in addition to an injunction that will prohibit Google/YouTube from further copyright infringement.
In its statement, Viacom said that “almost 160,000 unauthorized clips of Viacom’s programming have been available on YouTube and that these clips had been viewed more than 1.5 billion times.” Viacom would have greatly preferred these page views to have come from its own online video sharing website iFilm, so that it would have been able to receive advertising revenue.
Viacom also said Google,
which acquired YouTube in 2006
, has built a “lucrative business out of exploiting the devotion of fans to others’ creative works in order to enrich itself and its corporate parent.” Essentially, fans of content not owned by Google are watching the “creative works” on YouTube while Google benefits from and exploits these users’ devotions to these T.V. shows.
Viacom went on to say that YouTube’s entire business model is “based on building traffic and selling advertising off of unlicensed content.” Viacom’s statement even says that Google is avoiding taking “proactive steps to curtail the infringement on its site.” YouTube missed the
anti-piracy deadline that it promised to deliver by January 2007
Viacom is also unhappy that it has to police YouTube’s content and says that YouTube has placed “the entire burden – and high cost – of monitoring YouTube onto the victims of its infringement.”
Viacom believes that “YouTube and Google are continuing to take the fruit” of its efforts without permission while also “destroying enormous value in the process.” Viacom also added a little sentiment by saying the value “rightfully belongs to the writers, directors and talent who create it and companies like Viacom that have invested to make possible this innovation and creativity.” Despite the added emotion, however, there is no doubt that the lawsuit centers on money.
After unproductive negotiation Viacom believes that its only choice is to “turn to the courts to prevent Google and YouTube from continuing to steal” its content and to gain compensation for damages.
Prior to 2006, Viacom owned CBS broadcasting networks. CBS Corporation has also scrutinized YouTube; the company recently
declined a content sharing program
that was slated for 2007. Viacom, on the other hand, has
chosen to partner with Joost
for its online content sharing platform.
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RE: Two things...
3/13/2007 6:01:42 PM
Consider this passage from the DMCA:
“(c) Information Residing on Systems or Networks at Direction of Users.—
“(1) In general.—A service provider shall not be liable for monetary relief, or, except as provided in subsection (j), for injunctive or other equitable relief, for infringement of copyright by reason of the storage at the direction of a user of material that resides on a system or network controlled or operated by or for the service provider, if the service provider—
“(A)(i) does not have actual knowledge that the material or an activity using the material on the system or network is infringing;
“(ii) in the absence of such actual knowledge, is not aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent; or
“(iii) upon obtaining such knowledge or awareness, acts expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material;
“(B) does not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity, in a case in which the service provider has the right and ability to control such activity; and
“(C) upon notification of claimed infringement as described in paragraph (3), responds expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity.
Is the issue here whether Google/Youtube has the ability to control the gaining of advertising revenue from the infringement? Assuming we go with the fact that its an automated process and use that to say they don't, google would seem to be pretty much in the clear here from my perspective because they do remove things expeditiously as far as I know.
"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation
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